Red Sox can't hold lead, then miss late chances

Red Sox can't hold lead, then miss late chances

Red Sox can't hold lead, then miss late chances
BOSTON -- The Red Sox had plenty of chances, but couldn't take care of the Twins on Friday night.

Boston put 18 men on base and had 14 hits in 10 innings, but fell to Minnesota, 6-5, at Fenway Park.

"We had chances. We just didn't come through," said second baseman Dustin Pedroia. "I mean, that's basically it."

Twins second baseman Jamey Carroll hit an RBI single in the 10th off Vicente Padilla to run Boston's losing streak to three games. The Red Sox fell back below .500 at 53-54, their recent four-game win streak all but forgotten.

"Talent can only go so far. You have to figure out ways to win," said right fielder Cody Ross. "There's a difference between being a really talented group and being a winning group. On paper it looks like that, but right now it just feels like we're treading water. It's not a good feeling -- we've got to snap out of it."

Darin Mastroianni started the winning rally with a double to right-center that Ross and center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury couldn't track down.

"I thought it hung up there long enough. When it was off the bat, I thought it was going to be caught," said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine. "Cody was playing over where he hit the ball last time and I don't know if [Ellsbury] came over enough with him."

One batter later, Mastroianni scored on Carroll's liner to center as Boston dropped to 0-4 in extra innings at home.

The Sox had some of their best chances late. They loaded the bases with one out in the eighth, but couldn't capitalize as Ellsbury struck out and Pedroia flied out. In the ninth, Will Middlebrooks grounded out to third with a runner on second to end the threat.

Twins relievers held the Sox scoreless over four innings Friday after retiring all nine batters they faced Thursday, when Boston lost, 5-0.

"Later in the game we couldn't do it," said Ross, 2-for-5 with a double and a run. "Got to give them credit for their bullpen, their bullpen came in and did a great job."

Red Sox starter Felix Doubront did not have his best stuff and squandered a 5-1 lead.

Doubront allowed five runs on eight hits in five innings. The lefty walked four against two strikeouts. It was the second consecutive no-decision for Doubront, who is tied for the club lead with 10 wins. He has not won since July 18.

The fifth was not kind to Doubront. He walked Joe Mauer to load the bases, then walked in a run when he couldn't find the strike zone against Josh Willingham. Justin Morneau drove in a pair with a soft single and Danny Valencia lifted a sacrifice fly to right to cap the rally.

Doubront did not agree with home-plate umpire Mark Wegner's strike zone and let it get to him in that inning.

"I got a little bit frustrated from those calls and then I made a couple mistakes after that," said Doubront. "When I didn't get those calls, I started throwing the ball and making mistakes up in the zone and down. I was a little bit mad. I thought they were crossing the zone for a strike."

Valentine described it as a "roaming strike zone" and Pedroia argued with Wegner after he was called out on strikes in the seventh.

Boston did most of its damage early, scoring five runs in the first three innings.

The Sox took the lead in the third on an RBI single from Adrian Gonzalez. Boston began the inning with three straight singles as it took a 2-1 advantage.

Carl Crawford made the most of a second chance later in the frame. After first baseman Morneau dropped a popup in foul territory, Crawford sent the next pitch he saw into the Red Sox bullpen for a three-run homer and a 5-1 lead.

"That's probably the most embarrassed I've ever been on a baseball field," said Morneau, who made up for his error with four hits and two RBIs. "I thought I could probably fit under first base if I could crawl under there."

The blast was Crawford's second on the homestand and his third since last Friday. The outfielder also doubled and scored in the second to get Boston on the board. He added a single in the eighth to match a season-high with three hits.

Minnesota starter Brian Duensing allowed five runs (two earned) on 10 hits in six innings. The right-hander struck out three and used a pair of timely double plays to get out of trouble in the first and fifth innings.

The Red Sox can complain about the strike zone, but they had plenty of opportunities to win.

"We had a lot of hits, walks, Carl had a great game. [Dang]," Valentine said.

Austin Laymance is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.